Just blocks from the U.S. Capitol, the Adventist Health Policy Association (AHPA), an affiliation of five Seventh-day Adventist health care systems, has opened a new office. Here, Carlyle Walton, AHPA president, leads the association’s efforts to advance crucial policy and advocacy priorities that ensure member hospitals can provide high quality, accessible health care. In this new role at AHPA, Walton "is building up the first Washington policy shop and establishing a stronger national voice for the faith-based nonprofits among federal agencies and congressional offices," reported Tina Reed, in a FierceHealthcare article.
“For the first time, the board of directors, which comprises our health system CEOs, has decided that in order to have the impact they envision on a national level, it is important for AHPA to have a presence in Washington, D.C. and a laser-focused objective of impacting the federal agenda,” said Walton, who was appointed president of AHPA this summer. He previously served as CEO of Metroplex Health System, which is part of AdventHealth (formerly Adventist Health System), a founding member of AHPA.
“As we evaluated the strategic direction of AHPA, we made a decision that to advance the collective health care advocacy agenda of Seventh-day Adventist hospitals in the United States, we needed an office in the nation’s capital and an effective leader with experience in the complexities of running a hospital network and passion for advocacy and civic service,” said Terry Shaw, board chairman for AHPA and president/CEO of AdventHealth.
AHPA serves as the policy and advocacy voice for more than 90 hospitals in 17 states and Washington, D.C. Affiliated health entities include more than 350 other provider organizations such as associated medical groups, nursing homes, outpatient centers and home care entities. The organization aims to ensure existing and new federal legislation, policies, rules and guidelines allow its members to fulfill their mission of outstanding, faith-based health care; analyze the impact of proposed federal policy and regulations on Adventist hospitals, focusing on three to five common issues each year; and demonstrate a united voice for health policy issues in which members have common interests.
According to Reed's report, more specifically, the AHPA's focus areas include advancing evidence-based policies "that promote human wholeness" and the transition to value-based care. For example, AHPA is supportive of recent opioid legislation, which passed Congress last fall, that puts resources toward prevention and treatment .
The board of directors will soon finalize AHPA’s strategic priorities for 2019, a blend of the imperatives of the health systems it serves; which include AdventHealth, Adventist Health, Adventist HealthCare, Kettering Health Network, and Loma Linda University Health.
“Seventh-day Adventist hospitals represent a major sector of the U.S. health system and working together on key issues allows us to have a meaningful impact in crafting and advancing a whole-person, patient-focused national health care agenda that includes strong input into the policies and issues affecting our health care system,” said Walton.
— An earlier version of this article appeared on Jan. 16, 2019, on the Lake Union Herald website.